Bill to strengthen New Zealand’s standards system passed into law

  • Paul Goldsmith
Commerce and Consumer Affairs

A Bill that will strengthen New Zealand’s standards and accreditation system has passed its final reading in Parliament today, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

The Standards and Accreditation Bill aims to ensure that the New Zealand’s standards and accreditation system is viable, well-functioning, and meets the needs of business, regulators, and consumers into the future.

“Standards support key government priorities such as economic growth, international trade, innovation and health and safety. This new legislation will help increase the contribution standards make in these areas,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The Bill follows a 2012 review of New Zealand’s standards regime which found the Standards Council was not financially sustainable in the medium to long term and there was a need to improve the current arrangements for delivering standards to users.

“It’s important to emphasise that the development and approval of standards in New Zealand will remain independent which is why this Bill creates an independent Standards Approval Board and a Standards Executive,” Mr Goldsmith says.

Key aspects of the Bill include:

  • Establishing a new independent statutory board to approve New Zealand Standards and membership of Standards development committees, and an independent Statutory Officer.
  • Retaining and strengthening key elements of the current arrangements, such as codifying in legislation the role of technical experts in developing Standards
  • Locating the Standards  development function in the Ministry of Business, Innovation  and Employment ensuring closer alignment with government objectives such as economic growth, international trade, innovation and health and safety
  • Strengthening the existing cost recovery arrangements, by providing for full lifecycle costing of Standards and improved access to Standards.

The Bill also updates arrangements for accreditation in New Zealand to ensure they remain relevant to the needs of exporters and key domestic service providers.

The arrangements for accreditation will come into force immediately.

New arrangements for standards will come into force within 6 months, once the Standards Approval Board has been appointed.

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